Ron Paul lives! So does Elizabeth Kucinich's husband!
Rep. Ron Paul, the 72-year-old libertarian-like, 10-term Texas congressman who's also running for the Republican presidential nomination, easily won his 14th District primary Tuesday and is set for easy re-election in November.
With about half the precincts counted (what's the rush -- it's Texas) Paul was thumping Friendswood City Councilman Chris Peden by two-to-one.
Now, Paul can set his sights on this other old-timer, 71-year-old Sen. John McCain, who claims to have won more than the 1,191 GOP delegates for the Republican presidential nomination this September at the National Convention in St. Paul (no relation to the congressman).
Actually, Paul hasn't really won any Republican primaries in the current political season, though he did take some fourths and fifths and a couple of second place caucus finishes. And he controls somewhere between 12 and 42 delegates, depending on who's counting as if that matters anymore.
But just Paul's powerful presence, eloquence and outspoken defense of the Constitution has forced every other Republican party luminary out of the 2007-08 race, including Rudy Giuliani, who's now reduced to doing bit parts on "Saturday Night Live," Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Sam who's-its from Kansas and that grumpy guy from Virginia. Tuesday night, faced with the prospect of a hard-charging Paul on his tail, even former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gave up, although he directed his concession speech at McCain to save face.
Paul, the only Republican presidential candidate to oppose the Iraq war, is no longer the oldest presidential candidate since the 74-year-old Ralph Nader began his quadrennial quest for 3% of the vote. Paul has declined to endorse McCain, which pretty much dooms the Arizonan's candidacy in the eyes of thousands of Ron Paul Revolutionaries.
Although they have been largely ignored by a media that thought the race involved ...
so-called front-runners like Giuliani and Romney, Paul's army of earnest, dedicated volunteers have fueled the GOP's most successful and recent fundraising quarter, when Paul amassed nearly $20 million. This year so far, according to Paul's campaign website, they've donated an extra $6.14 million.
These volunteers, many of them new to the political process, have organized some 1,400+ meet-up groups that wrote thousands of letters and hand-painted countless signs to wave at motorists in intersections and passing beneath them on interstate bridges all over the country. Their chatrooms coach supporters on what to say and how to say it to encourage broader political support.
These fans fervently scour the Internet at all hours for stories like this to comment on or correct. Some websites refuse to accept their comments so, uh, fervent are they and sometimes trite -- "Ron Paul 2008" and "the Revolution will not be televised." But we've welcomed most of them on The Ticket because they're so eager for dialogue, involvement and follow the day's political events with admirable intensity.
These folks also devised some of the most imaginative fundraising schemes from mini-music concerts to Boston Tea Party re-enactments to music videos to pinup calendars showing female Ron Paul fans with very little clothing on, which only Ron Paul supporters are allowed to click here to see.
There was confusion after Paul knocked Romney out of the presidential contest about the congressman continuing his presidential race because he said he needed to focus on his House primary. But Paul vows to continue to run his hopeless campaign as long as his supporters support him and his ideas of strict constitutionalism. And now that he's waxed Peden, McCain had better watch out. Not by coincidence, McCain quickly left Texas after Paul's win, allegedly to visit the White House today.
Paul's supporters will explain below that if it wasn't for a vast media conspiracy, led by Fox News in cahoots with big banks and oil companies who tell newspapers what to print, their candidate might very well be the one celebrating 1,191 GOP delegates today. How Paul supporters know their candidate has been ignored when they claim to no longer read newspapers is unexplained.
Anyway, a few blogs such as The Ticket have explained Dr. Paul's plans to drastically downsize the federal government, bring all overseas American troops home and abolish the Federal Reserve because it does bad things. But apparently few voters read blogs or they don't care about Ron Paul.
Paul supporters explain now that winning elections isn't the only measure of success in politics and that they are driving a historic idea of restoring American freedoms whose time will come and actual contemporary votes are irrelevant. All of which is what candidates say about votes when they don't get many.
Speaking of votes and hopeless causes, another presidential contender and House member, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, was getting a sufficient number Tuesday night to beat back four primary challengers in his home Cleveland district. The main competitor was City Councilor Joe Cimperman, who trailed Kucinich 52% to 33% in early returns, despite several endorsements by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The liberal Kucinich dropped out of the Democratic presidential race and, using his list of national donors, most of whom don't live in Cleveland on purpose, Kucinich raised a reported $700,000 to protect his congressional seat.
Some political observers, who won't admit it now and also don't live in Cleveland by choice, thought Kucinich was in political trouble at home because he was always off somewhere else running for president and driving his hopeless agenda of impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney over starting the Iraq war. Cimperman ran ads parodying Kucinich's quixotic presidential campaign absences, but obviously they didn't work too well.
Now, Republican state Rep. Jim Trakas will have his turn to unseat the former Cleveland mayor in the general election Nov 4.
(UPDATE: Late returns indicate Kucinich won his primary by a 50:35 margin while Paul won his 70:30.)
Meanwhile, Kucinich is still married to his wife, Elizabeth, who looks a whole lot nicer than he does. So we're publishing her photo instead.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Elizabeth Kucinich (Mark Duncan / Associated Press)